Find Out Which Is Better – The Volume of Your Voice or The Presence of Your Voice

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Fall girlAs the seasons start changing soon, there are MANY things I love about Fall.  One of those things is the falling of leaves and all the beautiful colors that will start to blossom in the coming months.

While sitting here writing this article, I feel a metaphor rise up about our voices.  Yours and mine.  Each unique.  Each able.  Each one powerful in its own way.

I think about those leaves falling and how quiet it would have to be to hear them.  Our world is so loud, and I don’t mean planes, trains, automobiles, whistles, sirens, and storms, although all of that drowns out silence every day.

I’m talking about the other things that are loud in our world.  Our doubts, our internal chit chats with ourselves that drive us mad, our constant comparisons, and our irrational fears & deepest desires.  These are the things we just beg someone to notice and understand.  We want to be understood & heard, all of us. But what if we are trying so hard to be heard, it’s coming at the expense of the quality of our voices & the altering of other lives?

Why are we sometimes more focused on the volume of our voices as opposed to the presence of them? 

When did it all become about quantity over quality? 

What I Mean by Presence of Voice

I have known people who felt more powerful, better even, if they spoke over me.  If they yelled loud enough, it made them feel more important.  The funny thing?  It was in those moments I heard what they were trying to convey the least.  Have you been in this situation?

I used to work for a woman like this.  She would come out of her high-powered office and ream me out in front of a lot of people who were in ear-shot over a letter SHE wrote that had a comma in the wrong place (that I typed).  At the time, it did feel humiliating.  What I had to realize however, was the stripping of dignity she was assigning to herself – that there was a deep reason she had to demean me in order to empower herself.  To her, volume trumped presence.

The Packaging of Volume

Volume of voice doesn’t always come in yelling form.  It can also be heard in these thoughts:

  • let me see how many hurtful words I can pack into one thought to get my point across.
  • how can I remind that person they hurt me and I haven’t forgotten?
  • I’m going to remind her for the rest of her life of something that happened 10 years ago, because apathy is acceptable for me.  It empowers me to hold it against her rather than to move forward.
  • I’ll never give that child a cent – they didn’t make the choices I wanted them to make in their life

Make no mistake about it – volume isn’t just the spoken word – it can be the written word or even the unsaid word.

The Power of the Present Voice

[quote author=”~ B.J. Marshall”]The greatest good we can do for others is not to share our riches but to reveal theirs.[/quote]

This is the power of the present voice defined.  We literally hold the power of life and death in our mouths.  Look around, then ask yourself how many people you know who constantly talk about death and don’t feel alive. 

Maybe, just maybe, our lives could actually become more about speaking into the lives of others who need it and less about “being heard” (always trying to remind others we have more).  Maybe today and more often, you and I could focus more on who needs the knowledge of where we’ve been, other than a deep-seated need to remind someone why they don’t deserve our love or affection (because maybe they hurt us).  Perhaps life was meant to be more about the impact we could make – the presence of our voice and not the volume.

Maybe if you and I took more time to actually hear those around us, our own worlds would quiet some.  We aren’t creating the noise, you and I, we are allowing it. When we’re silent, other things get louder.  The seasons change, the leaves fall, & we never hear it.

In the comments, let me know what is loud around you.  What are you allowing to be louder than the presence of your voice?

Love & Light,

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  • Tanisha
    September 14, 2012, 10:34 pm  Reply

    As I read this, I cannot help to think about my own personal experience with a supervisor that constantly yelled and was demeaning towards others. One day he yelled at me so loud when I did not complete a task that he asked to me from the previous week, “you will do what I tell you!” I felt so hurt and degraded. Everyone asked if I was okay and I had to dig deep to hold back the tears. The sad part was that my supervisor was also my friend. What went so bad in his life that he had to abuse his power over others? And the need to use his volume and words to hurt people?

    • September 14, 2012, 11:10 pm

      Hi Tanisha. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I do know how that feels. Were you able to get out of that situation? I loved what you wrote because you asked some very valuable questions. Remember that there is always a root reason people mistreat us, and it often has nothing to do with us. Thank you for reading!

      • Tanisha
        September 17, 2012, 2:59 pm

        Hi Tanisha! Thank you for your compassion and feedback. Yes, I am out of the situation, since 7 months. My supervisor moved to another location and a month later I moved to another state yet we were friends (notice I said were). As first, I minimized the situations because also very kind and helpful as a friend. Now, I realize that one time of verbal abuse, is one time too many. I did not deserve to be treated that way. And your comment really helped “it often has nothing to do with us”. The healthier I become, the healthier choices I make in relationships and the clearer I think.

  • Anonymous
    September 16, 2012, 10:33 am  Reply

    This is some of the most interesting, heart gripping writings you’ve ever done! It certainly gives insight by revealing why people do what they do and the REAL reason behind their behaviors! I was impressed and impacted by this writing. Thanks!

    • September 16, 2012, 3:08 pm

      You’re so welcome – thanks for reading! 🙂

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